The HR6A and -B genes, homologues of the yeast Rad6 gene, encode ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes that are required for postreplication repair of DNA and damage-induced mutagenesis. Using surface plasmon resonance, we show here that HR6 protein (referred as Rad6) physically interacts with p53. Analysis of proteins coimmunoprecipitated with Rad6 antibody from metabolically labeled normal MCF10A human breast epithelial cells not only confirmed Rad6-p53 interactions in vivo but also demonstrated for the first time that exposure of MCF10A cells to cisplatin or adriamycin (ADR) induces recruitment of p14ARF into Rad6-p53 complexes. Further analysis of ADR-induced p53 response showed that stable Rad6-p53-p14ARF complex formation is associated with a parallel increase and decrease in monoubiquitinated and polyubiquitinated p53, respectively, and arrest in G(2)/M phase of the cell cycle. Interestingly, the ADR-induced suppression of p53 polyubiquitination correlated with a corresponding decline in intact Hdm2 protein levels. Treatment of MCF10A cells with MG132, a 26S proteasome inhibitor, effectively stabilized monoubiquitinated p53 and rescued ADR-induced downregulation of Hdm2. These data suggest that ADR-induced degradation of Hdm2 occurs via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Rad6 is present in both the cytoplasmic and nuclear compartments of normal MCF10A cells, although in response to DNA damage it is predominantly found in the nucleus colocalizing with ubiquitinated p53, whereas Hdm2 is undetectable. Consistent with in vivo data, results from in vitro ubiquitination assays show that Rad6 mediates addition of one (mono-) to two (multimono-) ubiquitin molecules on p53 and that inclusion of Mdm2 is essential for its polyubiquitination. The data presented in the present study suggest that Rad6-p53-p14ARF complex formation and p53 ubiquitin modification are important damage-induced responses that perhaps determine the fidelity of DNA postreplication repair.
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